Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre

Confession: I have a weak spot for museums and cultural centres. I supposed its something to do with my love for history as much as I love playing with chemicals in the science lab. On a visit to Chiang Mai, it is only apt that our holiday kicks off with visiting the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. It does give one an understanding of what makes up Chiang Mai and its glorious history.

Chiang Mai's history can be traced back to the ancient Lanna Kingdom (1259-1939). In fact the current location of the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre is the very centre of the old city back then and was used as a Royal Hall. And when you walk around, you will see that one of the building built in the 13th century is still present.

We're greeted by 3 handsome Kings. To be precise its the 3 Kings Monument. These 3 Kings -  King Mengrai (the founder of Chiang Mai), King Ramkamhaeng of Sukothai and King Ngam Muang of Payao worked together to build up Chiang Mai.

There was a brief video that gave us a brief idea of Chiang Mai's history. Then we were left to our own devices i.e. exploring the centre. One thing that I noted was that the museum was pretty well maintained. Rooms are filled with miniature reenactments of the old days. Of course there were replicas and also the real ancient items. A few photos here and you can see more in the FB album Chiang Mai - Day 1
Apparently Chiang Mai was designed almost like a square with 4 corners and each having its own significance. 
Khun Tan tunner
Trains and the Khun Tan tunnel:
In 1907 under the reign of King Chulalongkorn, a railway line was built and a tunnel of 1,362.05 metres long and 5,75 metres high was built taking 3 years and 36 months of which many workers died of malaria, typhus, suffocated by a lack of oxygen and even crushed by falling boulders.
More miniatures...
and some life sized ones as well. Hang on...that bloke standing there is not from the past! That's my food and car buddy Jason.
Bed time!
Some lovely greenery within the courtyard of the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre
More lovely landscaping within. It certainly caught my attention as it seemed to be a cafe of some sort.
Indeed it was a coffee shop on the ground floor of the centre! My old pal Yoga was having his iced coffee fixed to cool down. It can get a little humid in Chiang Mai.
Someone's random cat as we made our way out...and I could not resist a photo:P
cannon ball
This pretty flower is from the Sala tree. The Buddhist believe that Buddha was borned under a Sala Tree. Its also known as the cannon ball tree.
cannon ball
And in case you're wondering why cannon ball? Dont you think the brown fruit resembles cannon balls? Hehehe. (BTW, this picture of the cannon ball was taken in Penang:P)

When we arrived in Chiang Mai, some of us needed to sort out our data line for us to feed our Twitter, Instagram and Facebook addiction. On hind sight, its actually better that we sign up for data roaming with our own respective Telcos. Its not that the Thai Telcos were not good but its more of the language barrier that we faced. 
The first one that we bought was apparently very expensive...
Spotted a shop opposite the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. So we hopped over to get our subscription sorted out. They may not speak amazing english but they were certainly helpful. 
Highly recommended - its a small corner shop (one end is an ice cream parlour and the other end is this phone shop).
Which of course was sorted out and these are the 6 packs that we bought and lasted us well till the end of our trip with good coverage per se all over Chiang Mai. 

While waiting for the cards to be sorted out, we noted that was a food store next door:D What started as "let's have a drink while waiting" became a full fledge makan session.
Can't read all the words except the English ones but there's pictures plus some of them do look like the ones that I normally eat at Lai Thai (read about it here).
Pork ball noodles with a very hearty broth to it. Love spicy? Then add in the chili flakes and fish sauce for an extra kick!
Can't get enough, so we ordered the mixed pork noodles.
And of course the beef noodles! Tender and generous cuts! 25Baht! No complains!
Technically we're done with eating...BTW, I seriously can't read Thai but that's the name of the shop of the sign board. 
We've eaten quite a bit of noodles and its supposed to lunch in 15 minutes. Still I could not resist buying 2 packets of these lovely crunchy pork skin to nibble on.

My first 3 hours in Chiang Mai has been good. Its been an eye opener at the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. And we also sorted out our data woes and had a good cheap Thai meal!

Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre: 
• Phra Pokklao Road
Sriphum Sub-county
Muang County
Chiang Mai 50200
• T: 0 5321 7793 or 0 5321 983
• Tuesday-Sunday (including public holidays) 8:30am to 5pm
• Admission Fees - Adult 90 Baht / Children 40 Baht

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More pics in the album Chiang Mai - Day 1